Tuesday, August 25, 2009


There’s a store right around the corner where I spend a lot of time (and money). One employee there stands out--but, unfortunately, not for the right reasons. She left a job as an executive secretary to move here, and now works as a cashier. Ever since we have known her, she’s always complained about her job. She's a polite, refined complainer, but a complainer nonetheless.

She complains about her pay. She complains about stupid management decisions. She complains about how she's treated. She complains about the dead-end job. She complains about, well, you get the idea.

Interesting thing, though, I do some consulting work on the side, dealing with law firm management issues. A firm for which I’m doing work really needs an executive secretary. Like, yesterday.

And yet, there’s no way I will ever recommend her for the job. Why? Well, at our house, we call it “the ‘tood” -- attitude.

A 'tood really goes a long way to define how you view life. An excellent attitude will help you put things in context, no matter the circumstances. If you have a terrible attitude, no matter what the situation, you will have a terrible attitude. No one has a perfect life. If you look for a reason to complain, you will find it. Conversely, if you seek out reasons to be thankful and content, you'll find plenty of those, too.

A complainer is like poison. They do their best work when shared. They blossom when it comes time to spread their discontent. You put a complainer in an office, and you will begin the slide to disfunction.

It's a shame, too. Without the bad attitude, she could have already left that job and be working in the position she has sought for so long. As it stands, I have no desire to help her spread her discontent. I'm sure I'm not the only one of her customers who feels that way.

Now, I'm not talking about claiming some stick-your-head-in-the-sand, whistling-in-the-dark, kind of contentment. Ultimately, stuff happens. Jobs, homes, cars, friends and family are sometimes lost, either recalled by the banker or by their maker. You can't ignore any of those, or the emotions they bring. Those are definitely real. You will not always be "happy," but you can choose to live a life of contentment.

Contentment means understanding that circumstances do not define who we are. A bad day or situation is something to overcome, not something to be endured. The attitude we possess and display will go a long way toward helping us place our lives in proper balance.

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. Phil 4:11

Watch your 'tood.


Sailorcurt said...

The really ironic thing is that, should this person become aware of the missed opportunity, it would simply become one more thing to complain about.

"Oh, the injustice of it all."

What they seldom realize is that they will never be happy until they address the underlying, personal, causes of their unhappiness.

No matter what their condition in life, the one constant in anyone's life is the person staring back from the mirror...and therein lies the source of the misery.

As you said, there are always challenges in life, to everyone in every job, position, status or condition. Those who cannot or will not either accept, or do the work to overcome those challenges, will never be happy in any situation.

Serenity comes from within each of us, not from anything external. Stuff happens. How we deal with it is what makes the difference between being a bitter complainer, or a tranquil, happy, contented contributor to society.

Did it MY way said...

I'm a happy happy man. Life has been good to me, and I thank God daily. Only you can make yourself happy.

See ya

Lawyer said...

Sailor Curt,

That's a great observation. I'm trying to make sure my girls understand that what they make of life will have a great impact on how it goes.

Did it MY way,

Correct! Once we weigh what God has done for us, we really have no business griping. We can alway vent, of course, but we can't stay there.